22 September 2020
Kava farmers on Guadalcanal benefit from training in anticipation of increasing crop production
“In 2018 kava production on Guadalcanal was 1.2 metric tonnes, compared to that in other provinces like Isabel which recorded 12 metric tonnes during the same period.”
The Guadalcanal agriculture division recently conducted a weeklong training for kava farmers on Guadalcanal.
“The training focused on basic knowledge for farmers which included planting distribution and selection, stock selection for nursery, stock cutting during harvesting, drying and processing techniques and basic information on kava management practices,” the chief project officer of Guadalcanal provincial agriculture division Mr. Joseph Wotomaru said.
“Wotomaru says that his division is targeting various local farmers on Guadalcanal, particularly those on the highlands with sizeable land and are willing to plant.
“To start with Wotomaru says his division is targeting local kava farmers from Vatupuku on the high lands of Guadalcanal. He say they will receive some assistance and advise because of its location - ideal for mass planting of kava.
“He says they are currently targeting 100 farmers on Guadalcanal, once identified they will train them to start their own kava farm.
“Mr. Wotomaru says that there are certain standards that buyers require, and such requirements will be passed on during training – this starts from planting, harvesting, and processing.
“Mr. Wotomaru says that there is potential for kava production on Guadalcanal to grow – but a lot needs to be done.
“He says that in 2018 kava production on Guadalcanal was 1.2 metric tonnes, compared to other provinces like Isabel which recorded 12 metric tonnes during the same period.
“Mr. Wotomaru says he is focusing on assisting and expanding kava farmers on Guadalcanal and is targeting 7 metric tonnes within the next two years.
“He says that to reach such production levels more trainings and assistance will have to be made, monitoring and quality checks are also important.
“He encourages youths on Guadalcanal to get into kava farming as it is high in demand, both locally and overseas.”
Source: Solomon Times Online.
Mental health bill under review
Quoting the Island Sun newspaper – 22 September 2020
“THE Attorney General Office is currently reviewing the Mental Treatment Act 1972, which was adopted before Solomon Islands gained Independent in 1978.
“The Mental Treatment Act 1972 consolidated the law relating to people of unsound mind and makes better provision for the care of persons suffering from mental disorders and for their custody, as well as governing the management and control of mental hospitals.’
"An officer in the AG office confirmed it is currently under review before it can be tabled in Parliament.
"Island Sun understands Parliament is still to pass the bill to repeal the Mental Treatment Act 1972 after wider consultations that started in 2016.”
Copyright @ 2020, Island Sun newspaper.
22 September 2020
Madakacho Community Kindergarten without essential resources and no more than a leaky leaf hut.
Jeremy Gwao tells the sad story of the very poor conditions at the Madakacho Community Kindergarten in South Guadalcanal in a piece he wrote in today’s edition of Solomon Times Online
This is Jeremy’s article, quote.
Madakacho Community Kindergarten is located on South Guadalcanal; it is a patchy little leaf hut that can only fit 15 to 20 students. The kindergarten is an extension of Sughu Community High School, and it focuses on early childhood learning. The kindergarten enrolls close to a hundred children each year, and the classroom is small, resources are limited, teachers have had to resort to using sticks and stones for learning.
The school is merely a patchy little leaf hut that can only fit 15 to 20 students. There are gaps on the classroom walls, during rainy days water seeps through the cracks, and muddies the unpaved floor.
“It is sad to see that student at this early stage of learning do not have the resources provided for them,” said Hilda Manekoti, one of the teaching assistants.
''We must be creative, so we use sticks, stones and whatever we can find from our homes or outside the classrooms. We can see the children are so eager to learn, but it is hard with no materials and no proper learning space.”
Hilda’s supervisor is Donald Oleni, he admits that such conditions is discouraging for teachers, as it limits what they can do to impart knowledge and learning to young children.
“Everything you see here is homemade out of our own creativity, it is all from us teachers, whatever we can find from home we make something from it,” Donald said.
"Creative ideas, that’s all we have, to help in the learning of these young children. But they deserve more.”
Early Childhood or Pre-Primary Year (PPY) is the foundation of each child’s learning journey. Ms Manekoti says what they must put up with is sad, especially for those children who turn up faithfully every morning, eager to learn.
"Children here always do their best to attend, to learn, but with no proper resources it is hard to keep them interested. Proper Sanitation for these children is also an issue, and with the crowded classrooms it is not very healthy for them," Manekoti said.
With the rainy season fast approaching Hilda says classes will be cancelled – the leafy roof is leaking, the floor will be muddy, and there are not enough chairs for students to sit on.
Sadly, this is the reality for many schools in the rural areas – sticks and stones for learning? these children, our children, deserve better.
Comment: The pre-school children deserve better and much credit is due to the teachers and supervisors at the pre-school for their dedication and resourcefulness.
It is my earnest hope that the conditions at Madakacho Community Kindergarten will be improved with the early construction of a more permanent facility and the supply of both teaching and learning materials.
Perhaps, the Government of Japan through its generous and much appreciated ‘Grass Roots” projects could consider undertaking building a proper school facility, as it has often done in other places throughout the Solomon Islands.
22 September 2020
The Solomon Islands government redirects focus on domestic tourism
In a government press release today, Tuesday, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has assured Tourism Solomon’s redirection strategy, with its focus on domestic tourism, is well within the bounds of the National Government’s policy redirection in the current COVID-19 driven environment.
As a result, Tourism Solomons will benefit from government assistance under the Economic Stimulus Package to sustain its operations through to the first quarter of 2021.
“The Prime Minister’s assurance follows a meeting with Tourism Solomons chairman, Chris Hapa, and CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto where the national offices took the opportunity to update the prime minister on Tourism Solomons redirection plans as COVID-19 financial stresses surge.
“Domestic Tourism is now our new emphasis,” said CEO Tuamoto.
“Domestic tourism is an area that was not originally part of our charter, but the board has realized it is an area we should be focusing on.
“Hence, in this current environment, domestic tourism has become our new emphasis.”
“Despite the restrictions placed on international visitation by the pandemic, there are a number of local tourism destinations that are performing very well with domestic business.
“These include Papatura Island Retreat in Isabel Province, a handful in the Western Province, Tavanipupu Island Resort on Guadalcanal and some others.
“The reason attributed to their success is an ability to promote themselves effectively to predominantly the resident expatriate market in combination with people’s desires to visit areas of the Solomon Islands renowned for their natural beauty and unique cultural offerings.
“The challenge for the national tourist office and broader travel industry now is to develop other domestic tourism sectors and encourage people to go there,” CEO Tuamoto said.
“That is what we really want it terms of the redirection we intend pursuing.
“And given the right amount of funding, this will give us the ability to create and build prototype projects on one province before moving on to another province.
“The aim of this to establish a broader domestic tourism offering which while satisfying domestic demand, will be in place once the current restrictions imposed by the pandemic are no longer upon us.”
“As such Tourism Solomons has sought financial assistance from the National Government to sustain its operation throughout the current situation.
“ national tourist office will also take a lead in helping the tourism industry both improve current tourism product and inventory while at the same time, establish a wider selection of domestic tourism opportunities in a broader choice of domestic destinations.
“Tourism Solomons first step will be to survey government lands across the country and assess their suitability as potential new tourism hubs.
“Chairman Hapa said a survey team is this week planning to travel to Wagina in north-west Choiseul to scope the government land there and see how it can best be utilized.
“Lake Tengano in Rennell Bellona Province has also been earmarked as a potential location to attract high quality investors.
“Following the meeting Prime Minister Sogavare said he appreciated Tourism Solomons redirection plans which he said fell well within the bounds of government’s policy.
“I have directed some drastic redirection. We need to put a stop to areas that are not really pushing anything in return to the government,” he said, adding that the scenario has changed and the productive sector must now take center stage.
“The areas that will be targeted are tourism, agriculture, the productive sector in general,” he said.
“The Prime Minister had also asked that Tourism Solomons work very closely with the Government on this.
“We really need to bend backwards now and some brains need to be twisted. Some people still think it is a normal time - it is crisis time and people are not thinking crisis,” he said.
“However, while Tourism Solomons has received the much-need government assurance, as a measure to alleviate further financial drain imposed under the current situation, the board has already cut off international consultants and slashed outgoing payment rates.
“The board has further agreed to a number of other cost-saving measures which will see staffing levels phased out, retirements and redundancies from now until December.”
Sources: GCU and Solomon Times Online
Pacific seeks changes to law of the sea
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 22 September 2020
“The Pacific Islands Forum is calling for changes to the law governing the region's maritime boundaries.
“A Regional Conference on Securing the Limits of the Blue Pacific focussed on the legal options, institutional responses to the impact of sea-level rise on baselines and the context of international law.
“Delegates agreed the existing law did not consider the effects of sea-level rise on their countries' baselines.
“The online meeting also agreed it's unclear whether these baselines are fixed or not.
“The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) defines the rights and responsibilities of a nation's use of ocean resources.
“But the Deputy Secretary-General of the Forum Secretariat, Dr Filimon Manoni, said since the law does not address the issue of loss of baselines, there has been some difficulty in finding a solution.”
Copyright @ 2020, Radio New Zealand.